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Particle accelerator beam for cutting edge proton therapy arrives at OSF Cancer Institute

221020 OSF proton beam.jpg
Courtesy OSF HealthCare
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A particle accelerator that will enable proton therapy treatments at OSF HealthCare’s Cancer Institute arrives on the campus of Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

The particle accelerator that will enable proton therapy treatments at OSF HealthCare’s Cancer Institute is now in place.

The beam system manufactured by Varian Medical was installed Thursday, marking the next phase of construction for the new institute on the campus of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

221020 OSF proton beam 2.jpg
Courtesy OSF HealthCare
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The particle accelerator that will enable proton therapy treatments is lowered into an underground vault Thursday at OSF HealthCare’s Cancer Institute on the Saint Francis Medical Center campus in Peoria.

The 100-ton cyclotron was originally shipped from Germany to Maryland before making its way to Peoria on a specially designed 210-foot-long trailer.

“The work on the Cancer Institute began over four years ago, and the centerpiece was always proton therapy,” said OSF Central Region CEO Bob Anderson. “And to see that coming to fruition with the delivery of the unit is extremely exciting. Now, we know it will take a whole year to set up and get it ready to go, but the arrival is a huge milestone for this project.”

Proton therapy is an advanced form of cancer treatment where high-speed particles are targeted at affected cells to minimize exposure to healthy tissues. The beam is one of only 32 in North America and the just the second in Illinois.

Anderson said bringing the technology to Peoria is “a game-changer.”

“It will allow us to provide a totally unique type of radiation therapy to patients in Peoria, where people used to have to travel to Chicago or St. Louis to receive that same care,” he said.

The cyclotron was lowered in four parts into a below-ground vault surrounded by more than 3,500 cubic yards of concrete.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.